Saratoga Race Course has claimed its first racing kill of the summer – on this, its second day of business. Fight Night, a 3-year-old filly under the whip for the 5th time, “fell heavily after the wire,” says Equibase, and was euthanized on the track. Horseracing Wrongs has obtained exclusive photos of the scene:




While this, as mentioned, was the first race kill, the Saratoga ’19 Death Toll already stands at four – well on its way to meeting or (likely) exceeding its historical average of 14 dead horses per summer.

Golden Julia, May 25, Saratoga T (died May 30) – “horse died from acute blood loss”
Investment Analyst, Jun 7, Saratoga T – “sustained leg injury necessitating euthanasia”
Gattino Marrone, Jul 3, Saratoga T – “fractured sesamoids – euthanized”
Fight Night, Jul 12, Saratoga R – “suffered a catastrophic fracture”

If you weren’t already planning on it, please consider joining us for our first protest of the season, tomorrow at 10:30 on the corner of Union and East in Saratoga Springs.

Perhaps the most common counter to our abolitionist position is the economic argument: If horseracing were to disappear so, too, would many jobs (never mind that most are low-wage); ancillary industries – feed suppliers, vets, farriers, breeders, of course – would also take a hit. Similarly, there are a handful of towns that have come to be identified by, or have intentionally set out to identify themselves with, the local racetrack. Saratoga Springs is perhaps the most prominent example.

While protesting at Saratoga Race Course, we are frequently asked how our goal – to close the track – would impact the environs. First, I say that money should not factor into questions of morality. If something is wrong, jobs are not relevant. Beyond that, however, I tout the town, pointing to all the wonderful things it has to offer that does not include exploiting, abusing, and killing horses. A recent NYRA ad in the New York Post makes my case – racing and track particulars redacted, of course.

“The graceful, cosmopolitan city of Saratoga Springs, nestled in upstate New York just north of Albany and full of Victorian charm, is a destination filled with fabulous dining, bountiful boutiques, relaxing day spas, lavish golf courses, thriving nightlife, beautiful state parks [and] a variety of shops and restaurants that fuel the thriving downtown business community.

No matter your summertime craving, the main stretch of Saratoga Springs offers plenty of possibilities. Once you’ve taken your last bite [visit] Caroline Street, known for its row of bars and pubs, to keep the night going. There you’ll experience New Orleans vibes, with the party often spilling out onto the sidewalk. Or enjoy an evening at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, which features an outdoor amphitheater with expansive lawn seating for rock, classical, and jazz concerts in addition to world-class ballet.

The wide array of offerings provides something for everyone and the charming city of Saratoga Springs will make you feel as though you’ve traveled much farther than upstate New York.”

Exactly – and it can all be had sans animal cruelty.

Just disclosed by the NYS Gaming Commission (why the delay?): Gattino Marrone “fractured sesamoids” training at Saratoga July 3 – dead. The 3-year-old becomes Saratoga’s third victim on the season – a season that officially opened yesterday.

Also, a yet-to-be-named 2-year-old broke down training at Belmont yesterday morning – “ambulanced to barn, euthanized.” He/she is the 21st dead racehorse at Belmont since the 1st of the year. NYRA’s vaunted safety program exposed – again.

From the NYS Gaming Commission: “Dash For The Cash died following 2nd place win [at Monticello Tuesday] in route to the barn.” No other details were given, but Dash was 11 – prime of life for a horse, old (because of the incessant grinding) for a racehorse. He is the 7th kill at Monticello this year – extraordinary for a harness track.

Through a FOIA request to the Texas Racing Commission, I have confirmed the following kills at that state’s tracks through April 21:

Team Colors, Jan 27, Sam Houston R – “bilateral proximal sesamoid fracture”
Come and Take It, Jan 29, Retama – “leg caught in stall door, fractured fetlock”
Twice Please, Feb 16, Sam Houston T – “severe back injury working from gates”
Charlie Webb, Mar 2, Sam Houston T – “high transverse cannon bone fracture”
Doctor C., Mar 10, Sam Houston – “vet scratch, colic Mar 9, died Mar 10”
Colt Silver Bullet, Mar 13, Sam Houston T – “sesamoid fracture, cannon fracture”
Ghost Speaker, Mar 19, Retama T – “sudden death on track” (two years old)
Tommy Grossman, Mar 26, Sam Houston R – “sudden death on track” (four years old)
Supernumerary, Mar 30, Sam Houston – “severe laminitis”
Poppin, Apr 7, Lone Star – “pneumonia/colitis/renal failure”
It’s All Up to You, Apr 20, Lone Star R – “fetlock disarticulation”
Montt, Apr 20, Lone Star R – “P1 fracture”
Thisonesmylife, Apr 21, Lone Star R – “cannon fracture”

The full report on Supernumerary: “Horse shipped from Fair Grounds Race track after original injury. Horse [treated] for septic arthritis RH fetlock – non-responsive to [treatment] – progressed to severe laminitis leading to euthanasia.” The 3-year-old Supernumerary was last raced at Fair Grounds in December, so it’s safe to assume that he was suffering for weeks, if not months, with the “original injury,” then “septic arthritis,” and finally, “severe laminitis.” Imagine that.

This is horseracing.